Chatbots in 2023

In a world that has rapidly become digital, a new technology has arrived. Enter the Chatbot. One of many results of AI (artificial intelligence) development has been implemented in many websites, messaging platforms, and mobile devices. Like many things, Chatbots have both their advantages and drawbacks, which is something that we will explore in this article.

Table of Contents

In this article we will be going over:

What is a chatbot?

Chatbots tend to fall into two main categories.

1)     Rule-based chatbots

These chatbots have predefined rules and patterns. This means that they’re only capable of handling specific scenarios. Anything outside of the tasks that they have been programmed to handle cannot be done, meaning that there is only a finite number of tasks that this chatbot can carry out.  

2)     AI-powered chatbots

This is the advanced chatbot. This chatbot can learn from interactions with users and improve its performance over time. More complex tasks would be better suited for this chatbot due to integrated natural learning processing (NLP).

What types of chatbots are there?

After looking at the main categories of how they work, we can look at some of the different functionalities these chatbots can perform.

Informational chatbots

This refers to chatbots whose primary function is to provide information and answer questions. Answers could range from whether it is going to rain tomorrow to delivering generic news.

Conversational chatbots

Instead of providing information, conversational chatbots aim to engage in discussions. They are meant to simulate human conversations and are often used for entertainment and emotional support.

Social media chatbots

Social media chatbots are chatbots present on social media channels as the name suggests. This may be considered a form of conversational chatbot, as they provide customer support in some areas. These chatbots engage in marketing campaigns and deliver content based on the user’s preferences.

What are the top 5 benefits of a chatbot?

Now that we understand what they are, we should go over why businesses would want to implement them.

Improved customer service

Given that these chatbots are available to help every hour of every day, customers can get the support they need at any time. Time-zones or working hours become irrelevant. They can also handle many queries at the same time so that customers do not have to wait.

Cost effectiveness

Cost effectiveness in terms of money and time is a major plus for a chatbot. Mundane tasks can be automated allowing us to do the more complicated tasks. Overall costs will decrease too, because the need for human agents to do mundane tasks would decrease.

Data collection and analysis

Data like frequently asked questions, customer preferences, and pain points can be collected from users with the help of chatbots. This could help deliver curated content, improve our products and services, and build a winning marketing strategy.

Multichannel integration

Chatbots can be integrated into multiple channels. This could include websites, social media platforms and messaging applications. This means that you could reap the benefits of a chatbot on more than one platform.

Improved lead generation and sales

Guidance through the sales process, the product range, and answering questions are tasks chatbots can do. Offering personalized suggestions based on previous decisions made by the user is possible with a chatbot improving the potential of making a sale.

What are the top 5 challenges of a chatbot?

There are many benefits to chatbots, but just as many drawbacks.

Natural Language Understanding (NLU)

Chatbots still find it difficult to decode slang, misspelt words, and queries with double meanings. Maintaining context within a conversation also proves to be too difficult a task for chatbots. Variances in language may also confuse the chatbot and cause the generation of inaccurate responses. Although with time, we expect it to get better.

Handling complex questions

Specific or complex queries outside what they’re built for is a great challenge for chatbots. This could frustrate users as it would give irrelevant responses.

Integration and compatibility

Yes, it is possible to integrate chatbots into multiple channels, but seamless integration into existing systems can still be quite challenging. It could be time-consuming attempting to integrate different technologies, APIs, or backend systems.

Security and privacy concerns

Usually amongst the biggest concerns with any technology implementation is the security and privacy of both the organization and its customers. Chatbots handle personal data, making it important to adhere to data protection regulations.

Lack of human touch

We will continue to make technology more and more human-like, but at this moment it isn’t quite there. Many of us still tend to trust humans more than computers. This is an area where chatbots can have a difficult time gaining the trust of a potential customer.

Final thoughts

Chatbots are going to continue to develop and improve the same with other technology. Perhaps some challenges disappear, or new ones are introduced, we don’t know for sure. What type of chatbot you’d like to integrate would be entirely up to you and your business model.

Social Snack Bar
Social Snack Bar
Social Snack Bar aims to provide news and information about Marketing, Media and Communications in South Africa.

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